Transformation. Boxer getting up and trying again.

Transformation

When things in life are going according to plan and clicking along, it can be comfortable. Sometimes so comfortable that we hesitate to make changes or take risks. It’s when things aren’t going quite right (or horribly wrong) that we often make fundamental changes in our lives — changes that can lead to evolution and growth.

Life never happens according to a script, and thank goodness. How boring would that be?

Everyone has times in their lives when it seems like the world is against them or they can’t catch a break. It’s very easy to feel sorry for ourselves, or feel like the world is against us. But it’s during those times that we might have an opportunity to “reboot” our lives. Instead of thinking about what we’ve lost, think about the potential for what we have to gain, or change, or try. There’s no reason we have to try to get back to our life as it was — we can try to get to where our life is going.

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Control. Woman freeing birds

Control

Are you driven by a need for control?

How much control over the details of your life do you actually have?

Sometimes parts of our lives can seem very much out of our control. For some, this can be a very uncomfortable feeling. We might feel an intense urge to regain control and get things back on track. But the truth is that our lives are never really in our control. If we can learn to accept that, we will be much more likely to work with that reality and not constantly struggle for control.

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Pride. A father proud of his son.

Pride

Do you feel good about yourself?

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life? Do you think or talk about it a lot?

Pride is a double-edged sword. It has historically been considered an undesirable trait, while humility has been considered a virtue. The “sin of pride” is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in this context, pride is a relative term—we would have to feel we’re better than other people. It could also be interpreted as arrogance, which takes that superior feeling one step further—to acting superior or saying that we’re superior.

Pride can also have positive connotations. The positive feelings that come from knowing we did something well or achieved something are part of our motivation for doing those things. Pride gives us confidence. It can be the foundation for our belief in ourselves and our ability.

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Hero. Fireman Rescuing a Baby From Burning House

Hero

The meanings of certain words have been diluted in this age of instantaneous information. People throw the them around without a thought to their meaning or their impact. To me, “hero” is an important example.

In the past, I tended to cringe whenever I heard the word “hero,” mainly because I heard it so much. It used to be reserved for those among us who did truly extraordinary things or were able to get jobs done in extremely trying circumstances.

So what is the essence of acting heroically? Is it overcoming fear? Is it committing fully to a course of action? Is it going the extra mile? It may be all of these, some combination, or something entirely different. The essence of heroism is inherently ineffable. If it was something that could be measured or taught, it would lose its mystique.

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Woman volunteering at community soup kitchen

Action

Walking the walk and talking the talk.

Do you act on what is important to you, or are your values more of a feeling?

I write a lot about values, thoughts, and emotions, but what does all this mean in terms of how we interact with the world? Does it translate into a foundation for our actions?

What we do on a day-to-day basis matters. Taking the extra step when it’s consistent with our worldview or values is important.

In our busy society, we are constantly working the margins of time management. We try to make every second matter so that we can add to our stock of available time (see time). We get irritated if we lose a few seconds at a stoplight or if we have a slow driver in front of us. With this mind-set, it can be hard to take advantage of unscheduled opportunities to act on our values and to step up when we see a need.

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